Are you, like me, a fan of the jewelry collection of the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor? Well, you’re in luck: you’ve got a chance to own one of her pieces! Taylor’s Victorian Sapphire Brooch is hitting the auction block (again!) tomorrow in Hong Kong.
The gorgeous diamond and sapphire brooch dates to the late nineteenth century. Sotheby’s calls the jewel “collectable” and describes it as “set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 37.29 carats, framed with old-mine- and old European-cut diamonds, mounted in silver and yellow gold.”
The sapphire set in the brooch is Burmese in origin, and the Sotheby’s lot notes indicate that it shows no sign of heat treating. They describe the color as “royal blue,” and I’d have to agree. It’s gorgeous.
Here’s a view of the back of the brooch, including its clasp mechanism.
The brooch was, like so many of her jewels, a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor. She was photographed wearing it on at least two different occasions in the summer of 1969. Here, in July 1969, she wears it to present a £100,000 check to Baron Segal, chairman of the National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children (now Mencap).
A few weeks later, in August 1969, she wore the brooch for the wedding of Robert Wilson and Gladys Mills at Caxton Hall, a registry office in London.
Wilson was Richard Burton’s dresser and personal assistant. Burton served as best man at the wedding, while Taylor was a bridesmaid.
Taylor liked to wear the brooch with the oval sapphire positioned horizontally, as you can see above.
The Sotheby’s lot notes, however, show the brooch pinned vertically.
This is at least the second time that the brooch has been offered for sale at auction. In December 2011, it was sold at Christie’s as a part of the enormous estate sale of Taylor’s jewels. It fetched an impressive $1,314,500 at that auction. In October 2019, it was due to be sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, but I believe it was withdrawn from that sale. Now, it’s advertised for sale again at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, this time with an estimate of 12,000,000-20,000,000 HKD (about $1,500,000-2,500,000 USD). The auction takes place tomorrow (April 4, 2023). We’ll see how high a price it commands this time around!